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Lessons Of A Traveling Designer

There is one thing that I am sure of: Traveling fuels my creativity and innovation. That’s one of the main reasons we have chosen to be a remote firm. At first, I thought being a local designer would be the way to go, but I realized my creativity was awakened when I started seeing the world.

Around seven years ago, Adam Galinsky, an American Social Psychologist, published a study where he found a correlation between the time people spent abroad and their creativity.

He and the other three researchers analyzed the experiences of 270 high-end fashion houses’ creative directors and discovered that those who lived and worked in more than three countries had higher levels of creativity, while those who stayed home were less creative.

This study made us understand that being digital nomads was far from crazy, and instead rather genius!

When we started traveling I drew inspiration from every place I lived in, and through every city I went by. I noticed that moving around gave me a fresh and eye-opening perspective on how other cultures live, work, build and design. A home in Arizona is much different than a home in Beijing. An office in London is much different than an office in Dubai.

By experiencing other ways of life I can better understand unique types of architecture, color combinations, and interior design styles. Every time we take on a new adventure, I get a new perspective on design!

Inspired by the beauty of the west

Our most recent trip was through the American West. We traveled through Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. I was amazed by every piece of landscape and design. I was pleasantly surprised by the unique, historical architecture and design of New Mexico.

New Mexico opened a new avenue of creativity. Experiencing the desert and its vastness truly enriched my design.

But it wasn’t just New Mexico that enriched my design knowledge. Every state provided beautiful and creative design insights. The West respects and values nature and I love that! Nature itself blew me away and really and helped to improve my perspective on aesthetics and practical design.

Here’s a little of what each state taught me about design…

New Mexico: Where modern architecture effortlessly blends with tradition

This state wasn’t initially on our radar, and little did we know how much of a hidden gem it was going to be! The raw, untouched nature, the vast dryness of the desert, and the traditional native architecture truly made it one of our favorite destinations!

Before New Mexico, I used to always think that I designed around the environment a house was immersed in. However, this place brought immersion to a whole new level. They truly blend their architecture with nature and respect every aspect by keeping and building around stones, cactus, and desert colors. For this reason, New Mexico leaves a lasting impression to anyone who visits.

They are also great at respecting cultural traditions. During the 20th century, Pueblo Revival or Santa Fe style was developed in New Mexico and became very popular. This type of architecture is still kept today and is respected by regular citizens, businesses, and big companies even. The adobe, stuccoed, and battered walls with rounded corners are characteristic of this state, and the wooden ceiling beams are a must-have.

They not only respected nature but tradition. New Mexico is a place with history, and designers should be coherent with it. We followed their lead and we were inspired to create this project.

Arizona: The Saguaro’s hometown

We moved from New Mexico right to Arizona and even though the lands were still pretty dry we started to see more green, especially coming from the Saguaro’s, a tree-like cactus that dominates the landscape. It was refreshing to see some green after all the beige!

In Arizona, the color of the land was more towards the red and orange mixed with pine trees, even with a desert environment. This state amazed me because of this strange mix of mountain towns, green plants, and the red and orangey rocks.

I constantly found things I wasn’t expecting. I was expecting a desert, but they had a combination of things. This place was beautiful and opened my eyes to the amazing and unexpected combinations nature has. Here’s the project that I was led to create after visiting this place…

Utah: Story of the vast, adventurous nature

This place was vast! For five hours on the highways, we didn’t see many people or signs of civilization. So to me, this place was the most extreme adventure I had ever had. There were no places down the road where I could stop for a coffee. It was all about these majestic and dramatic landscapes. The dramatic landscape, especially in Zion National Park, and the many badlands deeply inspired me! I’m sure this intense exposure to nature will be reflected in my future designs.

Washington, Seattle: The city with an easy escape

We spent most of our time in Seattle which had so much character. The famous Pike’s Place, a market full of fresh fish and food, was full of life and personality. From the smell of saltwater to the to-die-for mac and cheese this city is one of my favorites due to the unique vibe. Although it has an iconic American feel there are a lot of European elements such as the abundant arts and crafts, alleyway cafes, and a lot of other small similarities.

However, I think what stuck with me the most design-wise was the darkness in everything. This darkness was not a negative but a positive, unique design element. Here, everything was dark: The beaches, the water, the sand, the sky, the trees, and the rocks. It opened my eyes.

So now whenever I work on any project, I won’t necessarily be scared of utilizing dark elements, but will remember the Pacific Northwest with its dark beaches and pine trees.

Oregon: All about the breathtaking beaches

From this place I expected snow, but that was because I didn’t know much about its location, which is near the Pacific Ocean, meaning it’s at sea level, therefore it rarely snows, but rains a lot.

But one of the most amazing things was finding a beach with pine trees, massive waves, and clear water. Although it had a cozy vibe the wilderness of such a place stuck with me.

As someone who has mainly experienced the well-groomed, calm beaches of Florida I was in awe of the contrast. Beaches are surrounded by cliffs and mountains rather than regular sand. And as if that wasn’t enough to delight my eyes, I found out the sand and the mountains around were dark, with rocks and driftwood everywhere. I was amazed by the climatic nature in that state.

Colorado: All about those Rockies!

Colorado was all about modern mountain towns. Although there is an inclination towards modern design, this place blended their homes beautifully with nature, especially with wood and metals. They keep their colors very natural and neutral and use a lot of white and black. There are not many yellow or bright colors, especially in the nicest areas and they focus a lot on the mountains or lake views around.

My viewpoints and preconceptions were seriously altered by travel. I’m ready to pour this passion and knowledge into your own project! So please feel free to reach out so we can put this insight to action!

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